Sunday, March 15, 2009

"Capistrano Arches"

"Capistrano Arches" - Oil - 11" x 14" - $195

"The mission at San Juan Capistrano has always attracted artists and I'm no exception. The light glows under its arches and the brick exposed by breaks in the plaster adds texture and color. When the bougainvillea is blooming, all is set right." --- SFG

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Sierra October"

"Sierra October" - Oil - 16" x 20" - $350

"This beautiful mountain scene is on the east side of the Sierras near Bishop,
California. Skiers may pass it as they travel to Mammoth, California. It was a
little early for skiing, but breathtaking, nonetheless." --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: I often use cloud shadows to create a workable composition and
lead the eye to the focal point. The S-curve is another common device that
works, but shouldn't be too obvious.

"Mendocino Morning Glow"

"Mendocino Morning Glow" - Oil - 9" x 12" - $300

"Mendocino, that pocket of East Coast architecture and culture transplanted a continent away, enjoys misty mornings and soft light that enhance its romantic mystique. Only the unique water towers and trees shaped by the Pacific wind belie the location."

For the last year or more, I've concentrated on more dramatic atmospheric effects. Since I'm mostly a fair weather plein air painter now, I've had to draw on those years of experience and knowledge of what light and color do. I've found that I pay more attention to composition when I'm 'painting out of my head'. Such an approach was advocated by my best teachers, as long as it was only one of the methods used and direct observation was practiced most often. --- SFG

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Clear Day"

"Clear Day" - Oil - 16" x 20" - $350

"A little artist's license... rearrangement of buildings and trees... made this scene sparkle. I used the reflections in the water to direct me and the pristine day added its flair." --- SFG

As they say, it's more about what you leave out of a painting than what you put in. It's also about where you put it. Rarely is a subject perfectly composed and the artist who is sensitive enough will either eliminate an element that is not working or move it. I used the direction of light on the fronts of these two buildings - one outside the picture plane - to create a reason for the reflections in the water.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

"Half Dome, Yosemite"

"Half Dome, Yosemite" - Oil - 24" x 20" - $395

"This famous landmark in Yosemite National Park is familiar to legions who love the out-of-doors. No, I did not stand with my feet freezing in the snow this time, but I've turned a photo record into a credible artwork. Photos are not truthful - colors are inaccurate and shapes are distorted by the camera lens - , so I had to incorporate the storehouse of knowledge I've accumulated in my 35 years of painting." --- SFG

Nothing can replace painting on location to hone one's skills and provide all of the information needed to produce a skillful work. However, almost all fine artists will add refinements to small works or use the plein air sketch to produce larger works in the studio. Surprisingly, for a large work, you need more detail...meaning information..., not less.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"Cool Day at Clear Creek"

"Cool Day at Clear Creek" - Oil - 11" x 14" - $195

"The Redding, California, area is becoming home to many delightful trails for walking, mountain biking, etc. A new one follows Clear Creek through areas that previously were not easily accessable. This rugged canyon is cut sharply through granite and roars in the springtime. In autumn, when this painting was done, it is still very dramatic and offers gravel beds for spawning salmon." --- SFG

This complicated rock formation had to be broken down into two basic values of light and shadow. Since the sun was so strong coming from the left and the far bank was in deep shadow, it was easy to do so. I had to be careful from then on to keep everything in shadow simplified and within a very close value range. I constructed the painting so that the diagonals countered one another and led the eye to the sunlit boulders and the soft needles of the two small trees. The bright coloration of the foliage at the point of the sunlit bank was the strongest contrast in color and value.